The Canucks Competed Like Bastards, But Were Ultimately Still Swept By the Sharks

Dimitri Filipovic
May 08 2013 01:12AM

The handshake line can only mean one thing - a long summer ahead for the losing team.
Image Credit to Don Smith/Getty Images.

The 2013 season ended abruptly for the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night, after they were swept by the San Jose Sharks. While watching the Canucks play throughout the season would have quickly clued you in on the fact that this was a flawed club which resembled a shell of the team that made the Stanley Cup Finals just two years ago, I don't think anyone expected their postseason run to be this short. They're officially the first team to get bounced from the playoffs, and the only one out of the 16 entrants to fail to win a single game.

There will surely be plenty of time in the coming months to talk about future moves, and potential solutions to fix this team. But for now, let's settle for taking a closer look at what happened in Game 4, and nailing down what exactly caused the Canucks to be sent packing.

Click Past the Jump for More In-Depth Analysis, and the Scoring Chance Totals.

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Afternoon Headshots: May 7th

Thomas Drance
May 07 2013 06:03PM

Really cool, defiant Johnny Canucks versus the Sharks imagery from Derek Toye.
Sticktap to Derek Jory of Fort Nucks for posting this.

Today is gallows humour day at Canucks Army and Dimitri was doing most of the heavy lifting. He previewed tonight's do or die game four and talked about Zack Kassian and Jason Garrison's solid performances in this disappointing first round Canucks series thus far. Also Patrick talked about Chris Higgins, a secondary player who needs to step up if the Canucks are going to extend this first round series. 

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What ails Chris Higgins?

Patrick Johnston
May 07 2013 05:05PM

Chris Higgins is playing a lot of defence. That's not bad, but he's being paid to do more. 
(Rich Lam/Getty Images photo)

A month ago, Chris HIggins re-upped with the green and blue for four years. At the time, it looked like a solid deal for both the soon-to-be-30-year-old and the Canucks. Brought in two years ago as a trade deadline depth player, Higgins exceeded expetations and has filled a swingman role on the wing since then.

But in the first three games of the playoffs, he, like many others, has been invisible. What's happened?

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Canucks @ Sharks: Game 4 Preview

Dimitri Filipovic
May 07 2013 01:11PM

Why so serious, Alain?

In the lead-up to Game 3, I brought up the fact that the Canucks were dominating and possession, and that if they kept it up, they were a few bounces from getting right back into the series. I also mentioned that the Sedins and Ryan Kesler were trending upwards, as was the team's penalty kill. All those things made me believe that - while an 0-2 hole with 2 games to play in San Jose is definitely not an ideal situation to be in - this series was far from over.

Then Game 3 happened, as the team completely unravelled in the span of a few minutes in the final frame, as San Jose blew the doors off of this series. At this point even the most delusionally optimistic fan must see the writing on the wall. Regardless, I have a difficult time seeing this team's core group of prideful veterans letting their season end in an embarassing sweep.

When Drance asked Ray Ferraro (during his appearance on the CanucksArmy Podcast) who he'd start in net for Game 4, Ferraro, in a roundabout way, echoed those sentiments: "I would probably play Luongo. I don't know if there is a longer term vision for that, but I get to a point here where we're not trying to win 4 games, we're trying to win 1. And right now Luongo has been very good in this series.

Read Past the Jump to Get Set for Tonight's Game.

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Rays of Positivity In The Midst of Disappointment

Dimitri Filipovic
May 07 2013 10:48AM

The guys in this photo have been some of the lone bright spots for the Canucks. Well, except for Marty Erat; he has been invisible.

"When I look at this series in an overview, San Jose's top players have been much much better than Vancouver's top players. San Jose's depth players have been better than Vancouver's depth players. And in totality, the goaltending has been better for San Jose." 

That was a quote from Ray Ferraro from his appearance on the CanucksArmy podcast with Thomas Drance yesterday. And while it's obviously an oversimplification, he's definitely not wrong. Not too many things have gone right for the Canucks through 3 games of their opening round series against the Sharks. I think it's fair to say that at this point things could be going better for the team.

But it hasn't been all doom and gloom; two players in particular, who fans have been overly critical of in the past, have put forth encouraging performances amidst all of the disappointment.

Read on Past the Jump for Some Reasons to Stay Upbeat.

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